The Student Windsurfing Association

Ladies and gentlemen, windsurfers of all ages, it is time for the greatest show on earth. Yes that’s right, the most anticipated, amazing and astounding adventure has arrived! From the 14th-16th October, the circus is in town, so abscond from academia and attend...

The weekend of 22nd-24th April saw 130 students flock to the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy for an intense weekend of competition. It was all to play for – as results counted for both the students overall rankings across the SWA series, as well as BUCS points up for grabs for their universities. We’ve previously looked at who managed to win the BUCS points, and now we’ll see who came out on top in the SWA series across the year.

The SWA series consists of 8 events throughout the year – we kicked off the season at Aussie Kiss Student Windsurf Festival in Bude back in October, and have then travelled across the country to Plymouth, Birmingham, Cardiff, Bangor, Bristol and Nottingham – before rounding off the competitive season in Weymouth this weekend. Each event carries vital points as students battle for top prizes from sponsors.

Fitting with the theme of ‘The Great Migration’ students arrived in Weymouth from across the country on the Friday night, to set their tents up to form their territory for the weekend. An evening spent catching up in the pub was followed by an early start on Saturday morning as the sunrise woke the competitors somewhat bleary eyed.

The competition kicked off with the racing, with the results counting for the overall racing standings.

The race series was one of the most competitive, with the final standings all coming down to the results at Nationals in Weymouth. Alex Parker from Cardiff showed consistency across the year, and managed to pinch the top spot from fellow Cardiff competitor Amy who couldn’t make the final event. Series sponsor Patrik Diethelm rewarded Alex with a sponsorship for the next year.

In the Intermediate Fleet, Pablo of Bristol had a very successful day – with a 3rd place finish on the day enough for him to win the series overall. In the beginner series, Josh Wilkins took the title for the year, with a tie for 2nd place. A thumb war seemed the obvious way to break the tie – but after a stale mate it was called evens.


Advanced Race Series – sponsored by Patrik Diethelm

1.       Alex Parker – Cardiff

2.       Leo Calnan – Southampton

3.       Matthew Duffin – Bristol

Alex Parker - "There’s been some really good competition and it was a close race for the top 3 at the end, I’m super excited to win sponsorship with Patrik and Sailloft to become part of Team xplg and looking forward to the future with them!”

Intermediate Race Series – sponsored by Horizon Watersports

1.       Pablo Tarodo – Bristol

2.       Georgina Stewart –

3.       Dominic Kay - ??

Beginner Race Series  - sponsored by Lagoon Watersports

1.       Josh Wilkins – Swansea

=2 Alice Lyons – UWE

=2 Elizabeth Milbank - Liverpool


Exhausted from all the racing on Saturday, the students headed back to the campsite to refuel on some well earned fish and chips, before getting into costume for the evening entertainment. Deer, parrots and some questionable penguins were all in attendance as the students partied like they know how for the final night of the SWA series.

Sunday morning saw the conclusion of the freestyle and team racing series, as well as the final chance to grab points in the overall series.

Freestyle Series – sponsored by Boardwise & K66

Conditions for the freestyle series have encompassed both high and low winds – and it was the competitors who thrived in both that came out on top. Last year’s champion, Charlie Wilson of Southampton, had a fantastic competition on the day, allowing him to retain his crown, and in doing so bag a new boom.

1.       Charlie Wilson – Southampton

2.       Alex Parker – Cardiff

3.       Leo Calnan – Southampton

Wave Series – sponsored by Puravida/Ion

The wave series saw some high level wave riding at both Bangor and Plymouth – we reported on how Matt clinched the title (link to Boards article), and in doing so won £250 of ION vouchers to spend on any of their products. New for this year, the wave series also rewards the most improved competitor. Ben Bulson of Bristol went home with a brand new Vandal sail after showing some serious grit and progress throughout the year.

1.       Matt Cox – Plymouth

2.       Sara Kellett – UWE

3.       Tom Bennett-Lloyd - Bangor

Overall Series Results


King of the Wind - Men's Series - sponsored by Supersaturated

The overall series combine the results across all disciplines – race, freestyle and wave sailing – across all events – testing the students in all conditions. Combining his podium positions from racing and freestyle, Leo of Southampton just squeezed out Alex of Cardiff for the title and kudos.

1.       Leo Calnan – Southampton

2.       Alex Parker – Cardiff

3.    Matthew Duffin – Bristol

Leo Calnan– “King of the Wind "absolutely stoked I won the title, it was close between Alex Parker and I so it could have gone either way!

Queen of the Wind - Men's Series - sponsored by Rushingham

In the female series, the top three had been super close coming in to the weekend – they knew it would all come down to the final competitions. With Amy not making it to Weymouth, it was a battle between two – with Sophie managing to edge Jane by a couple of points and take home a new mast courtesy of Tushingham.


1.       Sophie Harvey – Birmingham

2.       Jane Paddison – Liverpool

3.       Amy Robinson – Cardiff

Sophie Harvey - "This year has definitely been the most competitive women’s series I can remember, so I was super excited to come away with the top prize! Going into the final weekend there was only a couple of points between Jane and myself so we knew that it was all down to the final race and freestyle. We had our share of collisions on the course (sorry Jane!!) but somehow I managed to get the advantage! Thanks to Tushingham for the mast!”

Jane Paddison - "Defending the title this year has not been easy! After Amy won the advanced racing at the Bristol event, beating all the boys as well, I was certain she was destined for the title of Queen of The Wind. Being of a similar standard, Sophie and I have had a friendly rivalry throughout the season, both ensuring we attended all the events as the points all add up! However she would always come out on top and the best gal won - congratulations Sophie!"

Team Series – sponsored by Boardwise

The team race series is arguably the one all clubs want to win for ultimate glory. Going into the final event of the series, Cardiff were leading the way with Southampton and Durham hot on their heels. With their 2nd place finish in Weymouth, Cardiff did just enough to cement the title, and take home £250 Boardwise voucher. Bristol managed to climb up the leaderboard to 2nd with their victory in Weymouth, and were rewarded with £100, whilst Southampton took home £50.

1.       Cardiff

2.       Bristol

3.       Southampton

4.       Birmingham

5.       Swansea

6.       Imperial

Thank you to Weymouth and Portland OTC and North Down Farm for hosting us for the weekend, and thank you to all the sponsors for supplying fantastic prizes – Boardwise, Patrik, Horizon Watersports, Lagoon Watersports, Tushingham, Puravida/ION, K66, Supersaturated and Colwyn Bay Watersports.


A massive congratulations to everyone who competed, and particularly those taking home the titles. The next event for the SWA is Aussie Kiss Student Windsurf Festival in October – be sure to watch out for the date!



Spring is coming, temperatures are rising to dizzying levels and the stage is set for the world famous climax to the SWA year: BUCS National Championships 2016; The Great Migration! 

Vast movements of ocean and air currents bring dramatic change throughout the year and in a few special places, these seasonal changes create some of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth.

One of the most awe inspiring events, takes place in the great open plains of Portland. Once a year 300 student windsurfers gather in the small corner of south England, this is the greatest concentration of wild windsurfers on the planet. But the herds only stay for one weekend before continuing on their epic journey.

The northern edge of the island, is dominated by mount WPNSA, known to the indigenous people as the land of lashtionals. It's one of the many landmarks, that has shaped the windsurf landscape here for centuries.

Prides of Lions, a bind of salmon and a sloth of bears, a spectacle of sorts is set for the annual congregation of the SWA BUCS Nationals: The Great Migration.

Student windsurfers from herds across the lands will group, to hunt their prey, in the avid search for BUCS Medals. There will of course be a fancy dress party of which only the fittest will survive. 

The venue is set in the shadow of the wondrous mount Portland at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. The date is 22nd-24th April, come and join the SWA for this celebration of everything great about windsurfing! 

Bring your tents/vans/yurts/mud huts to occupy a small territory in the wild SWA short grass plains at Northdown Farm, Osmington, Weymouth, Dorset DT3 6ED. Once your accommodation is constructed then head to the Friday night watering hole; where the stocks may dry off, making hunting what few animals remain even more difficult. The pride must keep moving to find food, but gradually the stumbling cubs weaken. Beware, younger, freshers cubs may fall into poor condition, and may not keep up with the adults, and their fate seemingly sealed. However, when the pride is relocated the following morning, the cubs will have somehow survived and been reunited with the adults. 

The herd will face a further challenge as the active volcano mountwindsurferous erupts for the first time since 2015, raining crests down on the plains. Saturday and Sunday will see competition for the strongest of the groups.

These cyclical eruptions play a crucial role in the SWA ecosystem. With the arrival of the first storms, the plains become green and lush. The wildebeest herds return and compete for final points in the SWA series, reuniting at watering holes alike, where the pride can enjoy the good times again.**

Tickets are £36 each!

Dig out your fancy dress, polish your raceboards and we’ll see you there!

**Actual serious & important information to be circulated in Presidents Pack!

Facebook event @ 




Advanced Racing – Division 1

With the potential to earn BUCS points for their universities, 41 competitors took to the water on Saturday morning for the advanced racing. There were 5 races, with one discard, with the course building in difficulty to a figure of 8 slalom course as the races progressed. Competitors in the advanced division were allowed a maximum 7.5m2 sail, and many chose to team this with longboards to take advantage of the 15 knot conditions. Coming out on top of the fleet was Rob York of Bournemouth, who was joined on the podium by Matt Barton (Exeter) and Nathaniel Warren (Southampton). First female was Saskia Sills of Bournemouth, who managed to finish 4th overall.

  1. Rob York – Bournemouth
  2. Matt Barton – Exeter

Intermediate Racing – Division 2

With 23 competitors taking the start line, the intermediate competition was going to be close. With consistency over several races key to success, it was a tough race. Coming out on top was Benjamin Wall of UWE who managed to hold off the competitors from rival club Bristol – Juliet Cairney bagging 2nd with Pablo Tarodo in 3rd.

  1. Benjamin Wall – UWE
  2. Juliet Cairney – Bristol

Beginner Racing – Division 3

The conditions on Saturday were ideal for the beginner racing, with the competitors taking part in heats throughout the morning. The top 5 competitors made it through to the final on the Saturday afternoon, giving them some time to perfect their gybes before the final. Top of the podium was Josh Wilkins from Swansea, who edged out his team mate Nick Harman. Rounding out the podium was Lucinda Wilkinson (Imperial)

  1. Josh Wilkins – Swansea
  2. Nick Harman – Swansea

Team Racing

Sunday saw the ultimate competition – the team racing event, run on the one-design kit of RRD FireRace 120L freerace boards and Tushingham Concept 7.5m2 sails. There were 17 teams entered from 13 universities, so teams were split into 3 heats, with just the top two advancing to the final. With the wind constantly shifting, it was a battle upwind to the buoy. In the end the top 6 teams, advancing to the final were Cardiff, Swansea, Durham, Birmingham, and two teams from Bristol.

With everyone watching on, Bristol 2 and Birmingham got off to a rough start, meaning it was four teams battling for the podium. Some excellent gybing from the Bristol competitors made the difference, and they bagged the top place with Cardiff not far behind. It was a separate fight for 3rd, with Swansea and Durham going back and forth as each team changed over competitor. Swansea just pipped them on the line to take the final podium position.

Team Race Results:

  1. Bristol
  2. Cardiff
  3. Swansea
  4. Durham
  5. Bristol 2
  6. Birmingham

=7 Nottingham, Exeter, Southampton 1

=10 Southampton 2, Birmingham 2, Cambridge

=13 Imperial, Sheffield, UWE



Thank you to everyone who helped out making the event a success, including Colwyn Bay Watersports, Boardwise and Weymouth and Portland OTC.

The SWA Wave Series came to a close this past weekend in Cardiff. Despite the anticipation, mother nature had other ideas and wind failed to materialise.

This means that after two counting events in pumping conditions at Rhosneigr and the Bluff, Matt Cox reigns supreme as 2015/16 SWA Wave Champion. Thanks to Wave Series sponsors Puravida Boardriders and ION, Matt wins £250 of ION vouchers to spend on any of their products. We caught up with Matt for a few words;

SWA: Congratulations on your new SWA Wave Series title Matt, was there a particular moment that stood out this season for you?

MC: I would say the highlight was competing in the Plymouth comp in amazing conditions, full on down the line logo high waves, stacked on 3.7.

SWA: What do you think was the secret to your success?

MC: I think the secret to my success was probably just sailing down in Cornwall for the last three years and sailing whenever I can get out.

SWA: Do you have any idea what ION goodies you would like to spend your prize money on?

MC: I'm not really sure what I will spend the voucher on, possibly get myself a new wetsuit and maybe some new gloves for surfing in the winter.

SWA: We understand you are graduating this year, what’s next for you with regards to windsurfing?

MC: My plan for after uni is to keep windsurfing as much as possible and try and do all the BWA comps in the next couple of years

Equal on points are Tom Bennett Lloyd and Sara Kellett. A second place finish in the final counting event puts Tom into second overall with Sara taking third. Tom and Sara also win ION vouchers with which to pimp their wetsuit or accessory collections. A final prize of a Vandal Riot wave sail on loan for a year will be awarded to a standout unsupported rider at SWA Nationals in Weymouth.


Even without the wind the show must go on with the SWA - Cardiff Uni Windsurf Club organised a great selection of day and night time activities to entertain their eager guests. This was kicked off on Friday night with a catch up in the pub before a boogie at Glam night club.


After a chilled morning, of bacon and post night out debriefs, tour sponsor Puravida organised surfboard hire and a beginner session to take advantage of the beautiful swell rolling into South Wales.Rest bay at Porthcawl played host to a fleet of around thirty SWA surfers shredding the glassy waves at low tide.


Some of the more experienced surfers were rewarded with some building waves as the tide pushed in while others returned to Cardiff to watch the big England vs Wales rugby match and ready their fancy dress for the Disney/Pixar themed punch party.

From Disney princesses to the Incredibles, the student windsurfers dressed to impressed hit the famous Cardiff Students Union. Atmosphere in the club was electric because of the big match that day but everyone got involved pulling shapes on a very rowdy dancefloor. Then to end the night SWA students filled a local chippy chanting ‘CHHHIIPPPPS, chips, chips, all the chips in my mouth!”  

Sunday was a lazy day for many hungover students with some opting for another go at surfing while others went to Barry Island for a good old day at the seaside with fish and chips and the penny slots. No wind all weekend, but beautiful blue sky and the first of the spring sun meant that Cardiff wave ended with smiles all round.

These are the final series standings for the 2016 Puravida SWA Wave Series:

Rank Sailor PlymEx Rhosneigr Cardiff Overall
1 Matt cox (Plymouth/GA/Tabou) 0.4 4 - 4.5
=2 Tom Bennett-Lloyd (Bangor/Puravida/Simmer) 3 2 - 5
=2 Sara Kellett (UWE/Severne/Starboard) 2 3 - 5
4 Tom Pidden (Nottingham/Patrik/Sailoft) 4 7 - 11
5 Ben Bulson (Bristol) 6 7 - 13
6 Louis Morris (Bristol/Tushingham/Starboard (15) 0.5 - 15.5
=7 Charlie Gilman (Southampton/Puravida/Severne) 5 (15) - 20
=7 Leo Calnan (15) 5 - 20
=9 Nathaniel Warren (Southampton) 6 (15) - 21
=9 Manny Devana (Southampton) 6 (15) - 21
=9 Calum Healey (Southampton) 6 (15) - 21
=9 Nick Welsh (Exeter) 6 (15) - 21
=13 Rose Greensmith (Bangor) (15) 7 - 22
=13 Shaun Ashmore (Manchester) (15) 7 - 22
=13 Daniel Pingstone (York) (15) 7 - 22


That’s it for the SWA Wave Series this year, see you all at the final SWA event of the year at Nationals in Weymouth on 22-24th April. Details to follow for that, keep your eyes peeled. The SWA Wave Series will return in the autumn with the start of a new university year and the first of the winter storms. Huge thanks to our tour sponsors; Puravida Boardriders, ION accessories, Vandal Sails, Funsport and RB sails.


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